My grandmother inspired me to try cooking. Homemade bread is my passion. I've always loved it, and in order to satisfy my appetite for it, I decided I'd have to learn to make my own bread. Nothing tastes better than a warm slice topped with butter.—Al Latimer, Bentonville, Arizona
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- 8 to 9 cups bread flour
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) quick-rise yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2-1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup butter, cubed
- 1/4 cup honey
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons cold water
- Sesame or poppy seeds
- In a bowl, combine 5 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Heat water, butter and honey to 120°-130°. Add to dry ingredients; beat on medium speed. Separate one egg; refrigerate the egg white. Add egg yolk and remaining eggs to yeast mixture; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down and divide in half. Divide each portion into thirds; shape each into a rope about 18 in. long. Sprinkle two greased baking sheets with cornmeal; place three ropes on each baking sheet and braid. Pinch ends firmly and tuck under. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Beat cold water and reserved egg white; brush over the dough. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake at 375° for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 loaves.
Originally published as Braided Egg Bread in Taste of Home October/November 2001, p53
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